Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats

364                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
served the Russian Government in the Orenburg expedi-
tion, in which he had explored much unknown country ;
he had also made enquiries about trade with Khiva and
In 1739 Elton made a pioneer journey down the Volga,
intending to proceed to  Khiva and Bokhara ; but, on
learning that the Persians were invading those countries,
he decided to ship his goods to Resht.    There his recep-
tion  was remarkably friendly.     On the advice of the
Persian governor he petitioned Riza Kuli Mirza, who
was  then  Viceroy of Persia, for a farman, which was
granted   and  couched in   the   most  favourable  terms.
Elated at his success, Elton returned to England, where
he painted in glowing language the prospects of the new
opening and obtained strong support.    He pointed out
that Meshed was now the capital; that it was too far from
the Persian Gulf for the operations of the East India
Company, but was accessible from the Caspian Sea, and
that it would also form an excellent entrep6t for trade
with Khiva and Bokhara.    Against these advantages had
to be set the miserably poor state of exhausted Persia and
the circumstance that this trade opening was not new,
but was already used by the Armenians trading between
Holland and Persia, who knew the language and customs
of Persia and were hostile to the new-comers.    More-
over, it was longer than the route via Aleppo, and was
open for only half the year.    On the other hand, the
Armenians were oppressed with heavy illegal taxes which
the Englishmen would escape, and practically no English
cloth reached Northern Persia from Smyrna.
The necessary permission was obtained from the
Russian Government, and two ships were built at Kazan
and launched in 1742. Elton was in charge, with one
Woodroofe in command of the ship ; but soon after his
arrival at Resht he quarrelled with the Russian Consul. In
the following year, as the result of overtures made by the
Persian authorities, Elton suddenly entered the service of
Nadir Shah.
The Adventures of Jonas Hanway, 1743.—His acts had
naturally disturbed the English factors at Petrograd, who